Sri Lankan shares closed lower yesterday, slipping from a more than one-year high hit earlier in the week, while the rupee ended weaker as investors awaited the newly elected leader’s economic policies.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed his brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, the current Prime Minister, as the interim government’s new Finance Minister.
“Sri Lanka’s presidential election significantly increases policy uncertainty” and achieving the newly elected leader’s ambitious growth targets could entail stimulus measures that erode fiscal headroom, Fitch Ratings in a note on Thursday said.
However, the Central Bank said the rating agency had depicted the complete opposite of the realised positive market response to the outcome of the election.
The benchmark stock index ended down 0.31 percent at 6,119.27, moving away from its highest close since Aug. 9, 2018 hit on Tuesday. But the bourse has gained 1.6 percent for the week, and is up 1.11 percent for the year.
“It was a bit volatile day. At one point the index went up by 50 points and then there was profit taking,” said Atchuthan Srirangan, a senior research analyst at First Capital Holdings. “The sentiment is now eroding and the market is waiting for the new policies of the government.”
The rupee ended 0.22 percent weaker at 180.00/20 per dollar. It closed at 179.60/75 on Thursday and is up 1.44 percent so far
Foreign investors were net sellers of riskier assets for the 12th straight session yesterday.
They sold a net Rs.50.1 million (US$ 278,333) worth of shares yesterday, extending the net foreign outflow from the equities market to Rs.9.24 billion rupees for the year, according to index data.
Equity market turnover was Rs.925.6 million, well above this year’s daily average of about Rs.709.5 million. Last year’s daily average was Rs.834 million.
Meanwhile, foreign investors were net buyers of government securities on a net basis for the fourth straight week, purchasing a net Rs.2.2 billion worth of government securities in the week ended Nov. 13.
Total foreign outflows from government securities through Nov. 13 stood at Rs.48 billion, Central Bank data showed.